Summer Festivals for Families

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Top picks for your family's summer fun. Get these festive dates down on your calendar app pronto!

Summer festivals are happening and starting soon. Everything from music to art to watermelons and tomatoes. Plan your fun!

KIDS ART FESTIVAL OF TENNESSEE

Saturday, June 3
This festival spotlights the creativity of Middle Tennessee’s K – 12 students at Franklin’s Pinkerton Park. There’s a juried art exhibit, hand-crafted art for sale, stage performances (in music, dance and theater), hands-on art activities and more.

CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL

June 8 – 11
Limited full festival passes are still available. Aside from the big stage at Nissan Stadium, the fest features several free stages of musical scattered around downtown. Fan Fair X is a big draw, too. It’s located inside Music City Center where you’ll find a bevy of country artists doing meet and greets with fans, plus performances and kids’ activities. New this year: the $50 CMA Fest Nash Pass. It gets you into Fan Fair X every day, plus tickets to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium and VIP seating at Ascend Amphitheater.

INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL

June 11 – 18
Various venues across Rutherford County host a variety of dance performances by troupes from the United States, Mexico, Canada, Lithuania, Germany and more.

THUNDER ON THE CUMBERLAND FESTIVAL

June 17 – 18
Watch F1 ppowerboats and tri-hulls race on the Cumberland River. At Riverfront Park, you can also enjoy live music and extreme bike performances by a BMX team.

MUSIC CITY JULY 4

Tuesday, July 4
Nashville boasts one of the best fireworks displays in the nation. The free day of fun starts at noon with the Family Zone around Lower Broadway and Second Avenue North. Kids can climb the rock wall, bounce on inflatables and enjoy games of skill. Country artist Chris Young headlines the music this year. Other acts include Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jonny P and The Sisterhood. The Nashville Symphony performs patriotic music choreographed to the 30-minute fireworks show.

UNCLE DAVE MACON DAYS

July 7 – 8
One of the Southeast’s premier festivals, and it’s a big draw to Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro. The festival features national competitions in bluegrass music, buckdancing and clogging. The dancing competitions include junior, adult and senior categories. Music contests include old-time banjo, fiddling, mandolin and bluegrass bands. You’ll also enjoy Southern food, heritage activities for kids, arts and crafts vendors, and more.

WATERMELON FESTIVAL

Saturday, July 22
Anytime’s a good time to make a family trip to Lucky Ladd Farms in Eagleville — lots of friendly farm animals to love on and tons of activities. The annual Watermelon Festival is a favorite summer celebration. Cool off in the Splash Zone featuring a splash pad, bubble blast pool and inflatable water slides. Win prizes by participating in contests including Watermelon Crawl, Seed Spitting, Melon Toss and Watermelon Eating. Everyone gets to sink their teeth into a complimentary slice of watermelon.

THIRD ANNUAL WATERFEST

Sunday, July 30
Cumberland River Compact presents this family festival celebrating and connecting kids to local waters. Enjoy environmental-based activities, a dance party, water slides, prize giveaways and more. It’s free and takes place at Nashville’s Cumberland Park.

TOMATO ART FEST

Saturday, Aug. 12
More than 60,000 people flocked to East Nashville last year for this robust festival. Kids love participating in the tomato-themed Fairy & Elf Costume Contest, and there are tons of free activities for your family throughout the day like live music, arts and crafts, art displays, a parade and more. Whether you consider it a fruit or a veggie, it doesn’t matter at this festivity, because in this instance, the tomato’s a uniter, not a divider!

WILLIAMSON COUNTY FAIR

Aug. 4 – 12
Nine days of family fun return to the Williamson County Ag Expo Park in Franklin. This year’s theme is “Country Pride, County Wide.” Enjoy fun midway rides, games and fair fare. Furthermore, there’s live entertainment for all interests. New attractions this year include RoboCars, a strolling act of live transformers; The Wild Sciene Exhibit interactive science projects; a brand-new 4-H and Youth Village featuring hands-on activities for kids of all ages; the Century Farms Video Contest; and a commemorative wall showcasing Williamson County veterans, living and deceased.

WILSON COUNTY FAIR

Aug. 18 – 26
It’s the biggest and longest-running county fair in Middle Tennessee. This year’s theme is “Here Comes the Fun,” and there’s a lot of that to anticipate! The gigantic midway boasts all sorts of rides, ranging from mild, friendly ones for little kids to extreme varieties for the fearless! Look forward to lots of fun animal shows, the Circle C Racing Pigs (new this year!), live music (including the Oak Ridge Boys on Monday, Aug. 21) and more. The Ag-Venture Barn is a hot spot for the pint-sized crowd, and Kids’ Night is Thursday, Aug. 24 featuring special children’s contests.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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